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Winter clothing drive collects more than 1,000 items for local refugees

By Hayleigh Gowans

Staff Writer

Thanks to efforts from local high school students in the Refugee Outreach Club Association, more than 1,000 items of winter clothing has been collected to distribute to local refugee families to aid in staying warm this upcoming winter season.

“The sheer quantity of items we’ve received speaks to how giving and generous our community already is,” said Jamesville-DeWitt senior Lydia Schooler, who helped organize the event with other members of the Refugee Outreach Club Association. “Winter clothing is so important, especially in a climate as brutally cold as ours, yet unbelievably expensive. It’s something that many families are forced to go without if the majority of their income goes towards food, rent or medicine … A lot of people ask me how they can help the local refugee population if they don’t have the time to volunteer or money to donate and I thought this would be a fantastic answer to that question.”

Schooner is a volunteer for Hopeprint, a local organization that provides support for families that have been resettled in the area from their home countries. She said she saw the need in the community and got together with Refugee Outreach Club Association officers from the Manlius Pebble Hill and Fayetteville-Manlius High School chapters to set up winter clothing donation drop-off locations at their schools and also J-D Middle School, Eagle Hill Middle School and the Manlius Library through Nov. 18.

“I remember once, in the dead of winter, a little girl came to our program in flip flops and a sweatshirt. Similar experiences sparked my desire to organize a winter clothing drive,” Schooler said.

As a result of the drive, more than 1,000 coats, boots, gloves, hats, vests, scarves and sweaters have been collected and will be distributed through the community to refugee families.

To learn more about Hopeprint, go to You can follow the Refugee Outreach Club Association on Instagram @refugeeoutreachclubs or gain more information by emailing